On June 21st, the Horyou team attended a wonderful barbecue on the banks of Lake Leman hosted by the girls of Girl be Heard. The girls are in the midst of their European Human Rights Tour but were able to make a quick stop in Geneva. It was lovely getting acquainted with the girls, representatives from various NGOs and the U.S. Mission over dinner.

Issues relating to women’s rights are not strictly confined to the developing world; there are also a number of issues in most Western societies. Even though women’s rights and their position in society has moved forward in some ways, there is still a tremendous amount of work to be done. One problem many women face is an inability to get their voices heard. What is the cause of this silence? Well, the vicious circle of non-expression that leads everyone – male or female – to keep quiet when their voice is truly needed to make a difference. The objective of GBH is to create an environment where individuals can feel safe and secure enough to share their stories and speak out. The performance hopes to function as a vehicle to perpetuate communication, listening and empathy. The Girl be Heard project is a New York-based, non-profit theater company that brings global issues affecting girls center stage, thus empowering young women to tell their stories. “If a girl can change her own life, she can change the lives of girls everywhere,” their slogan proclaims.

Sharing stories, as opposed to just dry claims, allows the sharer to include context as well as their own personal, emotional and raw stamp. This is how the Girl be Heard crew is doing it: The stories they share about young American girls and their experiences become more than just gender issues; they are stories of the struggle of humankind.

The show comprises spoken word, voice and guitar. The girls develop a subject within six months and work on how they can share their story with the help of a specialist. Positivity met sadness, and despair was chased away by all the smiles we saw on each and every face present, as if to say: “Yes, the subject is heavy to carry, but we will make a change together.” This approach promotes compassion, inclusion and a way for these brave women to be heard.

Even Mrs Suzan LeVine, recent U.S. ambassador in Switzerland, made an appearance and delivered a short speech in support of the cause. We at Horyou enjoyed the show so much, we went back for the following performance shown at the United Nations Office in Geneva.

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An overview of their great performance is here.

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